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smaller number controlling the greater ; fo that the thirty-two chiefs were to be fubferyient to the decrees of the council of fixteen,
and by a fimilar and progressive ratio the refo- Jutions of the sixty-four were to be controlled
by those of the thirty-two.
But, as might reafonably have been expected, the chiefs, by a frequent abuse of power, at length fanctioned the interference of the prince; who by intrigues and sowing diffenfions among them, gradually recovered the exercise of his own authority.
He therefore forbade these high-spirited nobles to interfere with each others' concerns: and to remedy the inconveniences that government might sustain from their private · feuds, the rajah appointed of his own accord à dewaun, or controller-general; to whom all complaints from the omrahs or the subjects within their respective districts were to be made, and whose adjudication was to be confidered as final. As the lands throughout Our dipoor had formerly been divided among the omrahs, with a slight variation they have fo.
continued to the present day ; but the former authority and political consequence enjoyed by thefe omrahs in the administration of the government, have long ceased, and at present Mahratta influence alone prevails in the 'dominions of Oudipoor.
The policy of the Mahrattas has of late been directed to distress the people of Oudipoor with vexatious fines, rather than to difpossess them altogether, as they apprehend, if driven to desperation, the Rajepoots might not only unite in a common cause, but by deserting the level country and taking refuge in the mountains, render their complete fubjection extremely difficult.
The nobility of Oudipoor are rajepoots of the tribe called Sesodia. This tribe among them is esteemed the purest and most noble; a few are Rahtours. In their persons the Ou. dipoor Rajepoots are not so comely as the neighbouring rahtours, nor are they fo courageous, although they frequently intermarry with that tribe. This distinction in the raje
poot blood, in Mr. Thomas's opinion, may be traced to the unhealthiness of the climate. Though affable in their manners and civil to strangers, the rajepoots of Oudipoor do not poffefs an equal share of sincerity with their brethren in other parts of Rajepootana. .
The military force of Oudipoor may be estimated at twelve thousand cavalry; the infantry, which is retained by the different omrahs in their respective forts to guard against Mahratta invasion, is very inconsiderable. The arms of the Oudipoor rajepoots consist of a matchlock, a lance, and a sabre, though the former are not so much used as the two. latter.
- They are fond of glittering armour; and clothe their horses with a thick quilting, which it is said will resist the stroke of a fabre. ;
Mr. Thomas moreover considers the inhabitants of Oudipoor as more inclined to pomp and luxury than the other tribes.
It is however to be remarked, that when the honour of their women is concerned, or they are afraid of their being insulted, the Rajepoots of Oudipoor, in common with their brethren in the other states, not only make a desperate resistance, but if unsuccessful seldom survive their disgrace.
If the natural strength of this country, its internal resources, and, above all, the spirited and warlike character of its inhabitants, be considered with attention, it can surely, concludes Mr. Thomas, be no matter of wonder, that the subjugation of a country so difficult of access should be attended with innumerable obstacles;or that the hardy and independant chiefs, immured within their native fastnesses, should not only still be enabled to preserve themselves from the Mahratta yoke, but continue even to the present hour to enjoy their patrimonial estates in an undisturbed tranquillity.
We must now carry back our narrative to the commencement of Mr. Thomas's expedition against Luckwa; who, as before stated, had
taken a strong position on the frontiers of Oudipoor.
While on the march towards that country, Mr. Thomas was alarmed by a mutiny which broke out among his troops, occasioned by delay in the payment of their arrears. As an apology for a conduct so unmilitary, they urged, that as they were now marching towards the Deccan*, their families who were left behind would sustain much inconvenience. Although there appeared some reason for the demand, Mr. Thomas deeming it a dangerous precedent to yield compliance, therefore gave them a denial. The mutineers, growing outrageous, wished to surround and take him prifoner : this he evaded by encamping apart from them with the soldiers who were still faithful. He then called in a body of cavalry to his assistance, when the mutineers advanced with their guns to attack him. Resolved to repress their insolence or perilh in the attempt, Mr. Thomas now mounted his horse, and went to meet them. Several shot were fired
* This word implies the south, in opposition to aotur or the north: poorub is the east, and puchum the west.